I always say these Alexander McCall Smith books are review-proof, especially if you are on the 4th book of a series, as is the case with The Careful Use of Compliments. I had read the 3rd book earlier this year and had not intended to pick up this one quite yet, but I had just come off such a mentally taxing read that I really need the light and fluff of McCall Smith to do what I call a cleanse of my literary palette. Normally, I would have switched off with the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, but I was so surprised by the turn of events in Isabel Dalhousie's life at the end of The Right Attitude For Rain that I was anxious to see where things picked up.
I thought this was a quite good installment with one of the better "mysteries" of the series and was relieved that the series didn't "jumped the shark" as I fear it might have given the new character in the book. At the risk of being repetitive, I find these books to be reliably pleasant and a great diversion from more serious reading. In browsing reviews here, I saw the book called "meandering" and while it was meant as a negative criticism, I find it to be one of the strengths of the series and McCall Smith in general... a chance to slow down and enjoy the proverbial journey over the destination.